Burger champing at the bit

Wed, 15 Jan 2014 19:49
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Springbok veteran Schalk Burger is spoiling to make his long awaited Super Rugby return for the Stormers after a two-year injury-enforced absence.

Springbok veteran Schalk Burger is keen to make his long awaited Super Rugby return for the Stormers after a two-year injury-enforced absence.

The decorated loose forward finally returned to action in the final quarter of Western Province’s Currie Cup encounter against the Free State Cheetahs last September following a variety of different injuries and ailments.

Burger sustained a knee injury in the opening round of the 2012 Super Rugby season and suffered a calf injury upon his return to the paddock in a pre-season game last year.

His comeback was stymied further when he underwent surgery to remove a cyst that was pressing against his spinal cord last March, but complications saw him contract bacterial meningitis.

He spent six weeks in hospital and another eight weeks indoors before he finally returned to fitness. The 2004 IRB Player of the Year was eased back into action by Western Province and showed glimpses of the Burger of old in an impressive performance for the Barbarians against Fiji last December.

After making it through the Twickenham clash unscathed and being named vice-captain of the Stormers on Wednesday, Burger is counting down the days to his return to the Super Rugby stage.   

“It was really nice to get 80 minutes under the belt for the Barbarians, it helped my confidence immensely and it was really nice to get back and play on such a big stage,” the 68-Test veteran said on Wednesday.  

“After missing out on nearly two years of rugby, there’s a lot of desire and hopefully I can start playing good rugby again.  

“The mind is super keen and let’s hope the body holds up.”

Burger will serve as Jean de Villiers’ deputy, the Springbok skipper being entrusted with the captaincy of the Cape-based side.

De Villiers, though, said a core of experienced players would work as a leadership group within the team.

“It’s always a great honour to be selected as captain,” said De Villiers.

‘For us as a squad we’ve built a good senior group and I’ll rely a lot on them. I’ll be working closely with Schalk and the other senior players as ultimately, a captain is only as good as his seniors and fellow players."

De Villiers added that the squad had developed and learnt from their troublesome 2013 campaign.

“We’ve definitely matured as a squad and you can see that the guys are taking more responsibility in individual performances and making decisions on the field.”

The Stormers, who missed out on the play-offs and finished seventh last year, kick off their on-field preparations for the upcoming season with the first of three friendlies against the Bulls in Polokwane on Saturday, February 1.

They play the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday, February 6 before their final warm-up fixture against Boland in Wellington on Saturday, February 15.

Reds vs Cheetahs
sast: 11h40 | local: 13h40

  • 27 | 10
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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 30 April 2016
Border v Pumas 12h30 East London
Namibia v EP Kings 13h00 Windhoek
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Welford Road
Western Province v Golden Lions 14h15 Newlands
Northampton Saints v Bath 14h15 Franklin's Gardens
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 14h30 Millennium Stadium
Ulster v Leinster 15h00 Kingspan Stadium
Lions v Hurricanes 15h05 Johannesburg
Dragons v Scarlets 17h00 Millennium Stadium
Stormers v Waratahs 17h10 Cape Town
Jaguares v Kings 21h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 01 May 2016
Exeter Chiefs v Wasps 12h00 Sandy Park
London Irish v Harlequins 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Newcastle Falcons 14h15 Allianz Park
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 30 April 2016
Highlanders v Brumbies 23 | 10
Blues v Rebels 36 | 30
Fri, 29 April 2016
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre 70 | 10
Munster v Edinburgh 27 | 19
Treviso v Connacht 22 | 21
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 11 | 12
Boland v Griquas 14 | 30
Force v Bulls 20 | 42
Chiefs v Sharks 24 | 22
Wed, 27 April 2016
Eagles v Leopards 26 | 21
Falcons v Griffons 26 | 49
Sun, 24 April 2016
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16 | 19
Brumbies v Crusaders 14 | 40
Sat, 23 April 2016
Kings v Lions 10 | 45
Bath v Sale Sharks 32 | 26
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 7 3 0 4 17
Reds 8 1 1 6 8
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Hurricanes 8 5 0 3 26
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 28
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 6 0 2 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4